New Fisheries officers on the beat

NEW BLOOD: NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, with 12 new Department of Primary Industries fisheries officers and Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Tony Andrews.

NEW BLOOD: NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, with 12 new Department of Primary Industries fisheries officers and Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Tony Andrews.

Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, on Friday  introduced 12 new recruits who will boost the force of Department of Primary Industries (DPI) fisheries officers patrolling NSW inland and coastal waters.

Ms Hodgkinson said fisheries officers play a vital role in the community to protect our precious aquatic natural resources.

“These new fisheries officers will work hard to ensure all fishers follow the rules to protect fisheries for the future by conducting regular patrols and inspections of recreational and commercial fishing activity,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The officers will also play an advisory role to provide advice and information to fishing clubs, schools and community groups.”

Ms Hodgkinson said the first-year fisheries officers have now started an intensive on-the-job 12 month training program.

“The officers will conduct practical fieldwork and undertake regular assessments,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The officers will gain a wide range of skills such as safe watercraft handling, fish identification, monitoring of fish catches for legal compliance, checking wholesale and retail fish suppliers and inspecting aquaculture facilities and leases.

“All officers will develop a deep understanding of the NSW bag and size limits as well as the appropriate legislation and regulation, to best ensure compliance with fisheries laws.”

The first-year fisheries officers will be based across the State, including:

Macquarie Region (Dubbo);

South West Slopes (Tumut);

North Coast (Port Stephens);

Central Coast (Ourimbah);

Sydney North (Wollstonecraft);

Sydney South (San Souci); and

South Coast (Illawarra).

Members of the public can help fisheries officers protect NSW waterways by reporting suspected illegal fishing activity to the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536, or online at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/compliance/report-illegal-activity.

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